broadsideblog

Aaaaah,that feels better….nothing like a good fight!

In behavior, domestic life, family, life, love, men, women on March 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm
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As opposed to a bad fight.

I know, I know, some people never fight.

Hah! Not me.

I grew up in a family of people with six-guns for tongues, and it wasn’t a great education. I certainly learned how to shout, rail and rant. I can slam a door with the best of them.

But…resolve conflict? Discuss an issue in a civil tone? Negotiate?

Hmmmmm.

So when Jose and I recently finally had a fight, after wayyyyyy too many weeks of peaceful, loving cooperation, it actually felt a little more normal.

We both agreed it felt a bit more “us” than all the (lovely) sentimentality we’d been living for a while. Because, like many people, there are still some unresolved issues driving us both crazy that just get buried under the day-to-day stuff. They’re still there and, until we have the time or energy to unearth them, they fester.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not wild about arguing, or shouting, or angry words. But having survived a first marriage where we never seemed to resolve anything, (hence the words first marriage), at least in this one, 12 years in, we actually try to wrangle our demons, both shared and individual.

One of the toughest parts of an intimate relationship of any duration is figuring out how (when, if) to fight. What do you say and what’s taboo? Who apologizes first and who really means it? What happens if you just can’t find common ground or a compromise?

It took us several grim years for him to accept that you can love the hell out of someone and still be really angry at them. Our first fights were at least 30 percent worse because of the added catalyst of disbelief and dismay on his part that we even were fighting. In my family, it was pretty standard operating procedure.

Now, maybe because we’re been together for so long and have mellowed and/or matured and/or accepted some of the behaviors we once railed against in one another — or maybe we’re just pooped — we don’t fight much at all.

Do you fight with your loved one(s)?

How does it usually turn out?

  1. Love your phrase “six gun tongues” – perfect! I’ve a hot temper and grew up in a house of yellers too. My husband is more likely to retreat from conflict, which for me only creates more conflict. I’d rather duke it out and be done with it, rather than let things fester.

    However, I admit sometimes my words are far too sharp. The perils of being a writer, maybe? Words are our weapons.

    I’m trying to tone it down lately, but biting my tongue just leaves me angrier inside.

    • I think being a pro wielder of words does give us an advantage, and not necessarily a healthy one. Words can wound very deeply; I still clearly recall some truly vicious things I heard from family members many years ago.

      The challenge is to get it out without duking it out. Jose has a hell of a temper as well. But we love each other deeply, do not hold grudges, are able to apologize quickly. You have to be able to set limits. I think you must be willing to do the hard work to determine what’s REALLY fueling your own rage when it gets crazy. It’s rarely your partner **as a person**, but something they are doing that hits an old and very deep psychic wound for you. That was a helpful insight for us.

  2. Wait…other people fight too? I loved this- Felt like some insider gossip reading your post!

    • Because most people deny it. Liars! I think conflict is inevitable between any two thinking beings. How we handle it decides how long our relationships can endure.

  3. People use look at me blankly when I saw we’ve never had A cross word…emphasis on the singular is usually lost on them.

  4. I just celebrated 20 years of marriage last month, and it has been hard work to get this far. The arguing thing is something we eventually had to deal with in counseling some years back, because our individual ways of handling conflict were vastly different. I’m Italian, so there’s the whole very emotional, very vocal, “get it all out in the open” thing going on with me. My husband’s from the UK, and he grew up in a family that didn’t feel comfortable discussing conflicts with one another at all. So we had two extremes clashing, which caused enormous frustration for both of us. It took some professional guidance and a great deal of effort to find a healthy middle ground, but it was worth it. We do still lose our tempers now and again, but only rarely, and we now have a shared game plan for dealing with these flare-ups before they get out of hand. I jsut wish I could’ve taken all my Italian relatives to counseling with me, because with them it’s still anything goes when someone gets mad, although that always makes Thanksgiving extra fun. :)

    • So true! My husband is Hispanic — and told me his parents “never fought.” Hah! “not in front of you”, I suggested. My WASP family fought like crazy but never seemed to resolve anything. Not great patterns for marriage.

      We had a moment of true insight during two key fights when we both fully acknowledged to one another that we had brought some serious baggage…and were sometimes far angrier with someone from our past, and when we fought would fight even harder with one another because of it. That helped us have more compassion for one another.

      I wish my family had not been so nasty to one another. It gave me nothing to work from.

  5. My wife and I have a rule: do not let the sun go down upon our wrath…:)

    By the way. I nominated you for the “Versatile Blogger Award”. I read your blog every day and find it very informative and challenging.

    • I like that idea…not sure we can always manage it. Depends what time the fight started…:-)

      Thanks for the VB award. I appreciate it, and your enthusiasm for the blog. (I tend not to pick up on it as it’s very time-consuming to find and link to all the other bloggers. I know that sounds really horrible. But it’s true…I scramble hard enough as a freelancer with my limited time.)

  6. :) I think my relationships always have a bit of fighting in them – I figure it’s partly because I’m completely unreasonable, and partly because I think it’s good to have a bit of tension sometimes – I can’t just roll over and take whatever my partner wants to deal out because they might get complacent – and if my partner just backs down to all my unreasonable demands I’d loose interest soon enough!

    I guess sometimes it’s better to get it in the open rather than let things burn away inside, but at the same time you can cause a lot of damage if you get the six gun out every time you feel grumpy! I guess it’s a balance thing – if you spend more time fighting than having a good time then it’s probably time to cut loose. I once had a girlfriend that was just as headstrong as I am – we spent a lot of our time screaming and throwing things at each other – it was exciting for a while, but you can’t live like that for long. ;)

    It’s good to know there’s a bit of fighting even in good, healthy, long term relationships – makes me feel a bit less like a fight junkie – other than that – my plan is to keep the aggression focused on a mutual external enemy where possible :)

    • Triangulation (what your last sentence refers to) has kept many a relationship thriving for years.

      I agree…if you’re feisty, dating a doormat is not a good fit. You need a sparring partner.

  7. “six-guns for tongues” What a great line! I heard once not to ever use the words, “You make me…” or “You are..” or “You always…” Instead, use words like “I feel…” or “This hurts me…” et cetera, thus not attacking but allowing the truth of your feelings out and how something makes you feel. It’s still hard to do. The other week, it went into… “…Oh so this is all my fault? I did this?” It sucked :(
    But at least we know where the feelings come from and why, and thus we can move on. I rarely fight with my husband, but he’s my best friend too. And we often disagree. Ce la vie!

    • I’ve heard that advice too..but I don’t buy it. “I feel like…you’re a total shit” is more likely.

      I am suspicious of couples 100% in agreement all the time. Someone has no opinions of their own, or no willingness to defend them.

      • Yeah, fighting and disagreeing is part of being two people together. But when that’s all some people do together, maybe they should leave it.

  8. Ha! Your family sounds like mine. One of the people I probably fight most with is my mother, and with time I’ve seen that it’s probably because we’re so much alike. She’s also the person I can talk to for hours on end when I’m home.

  9. Nice that you can enjoy both sides of her equally!

  10. I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Great posts, keep ‘em coming!

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